Amended Cause and Manner of Death Certification: A Six-Year Review of the New Mexico Experience*

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Little is known about the amendment of death certificates (DCs) issued by medical examiners and coroners. This retrospective study examined why, how, and with what frequency cause and manner of death were amended on DCs issued by forensic pathologists over a 6-year period at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. Approximately 1% of DCs had either cause or manner of death amendments, with arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease and intoxicants the most commonly amended and resulting causes of death, respectively. There was a significant association between manner of death and number of DCs amended (p<0.001). By percent, natural and suicide DCs were the most frequently amended. The way in which manner of death changed was significantly associated with the amount of time elapsed between DCs (p=0.04). Toxicology was the most common reason for DC amendment.

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